The UK has detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus, the health secretary Matt Hancock says.
The cases in London and northwest England are contacts of people who travelled to South Africa, where the variant was discovered.
Travel restrictions with South Africa have been imposed.
Anyone who has travelled there in the past fortnight, and anyone they have been in contact with, are being told to quarantine immediately.
The variant has been causing mounting concern in South Africa, where health minister Zweli Mkhize warned that “young, previously healthy people are now becoming very sick”.
He said the country “cannot go through what we went through in the early days of the Aids pandemic”.
We have convened this public briefing today to announce that a variant of the SARS-COV-2 Virus- currently termed 501.V2 Variant has been identified by our genomics scientists here in South Africa.#SARSCOV2MediaBriefing
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 18, 2020